Objective: The main purpose of this work was to investigate the effect of berberine hydrochloride (BH) on the proliferation, apoptosis, migration, and invasion of CNE-1 nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells. Our results shed light on the functional components of traditional Chinese herbs for potential use in modern medicine.
Methods: The CNE-1 cell line was treated with different concentrations of BH and effects on cell viability and proliferation were evaluated using the Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) assay. Anti-migratory and anti-invasive actions of BH were investigated using wound healing assays and the Millicell Hanging cell culture insert system, respectively. Expression of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related gene twist (Twist) was analyzed by real-time PCR and Western blotting. Apoptosis was estimated with an annexin-V fluorescein (FITC) apoptosis detection kit, as well as with reference to levels of activated caspase-3 of CNE-1 cells before and after treatment with BH utilizing fluorescence spectroscopy.
Results: BH was capable of reducing proliferation and viability of CNE-1 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner, also demonstrating anti-migratory and anti-invasive capacities which correlated with reduction in expression of Twist. Finally, BH was able to induce significant amounts of apoptosis in CNE-1 cells, as demonstrated by an increase in the activity of caspase-3 and in annexin-V staining following treatment.
Conclusion: BH extracted from rhizoma coptidis demonstrated an ability to block proliferation, induce apoptosis, and impair the migration and invasion of the CNE-1 cell line Considering these properties, our results suggest that BH could be an important compound for consideration in the treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma.